Rahul Dravid recovers from COVID-19 ahead of India-Pakistan match

India head coach Rahul Dravid has tested negative for covid and will join the team on Sunday before his team's opening match against Pakistan at the Asia Cup 2022 at the Dubai International Stadium.

Dravid initially tested positive on August 21 and had to isolate himself at home in Bengaluru. Following that, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah confirmed the news about Dravid's positive test in a press release.

"Mr. Dravid is under the supervision of the BCCI Medical team and has mild symptoms," Shah said. "He will join the team once he returns with a negative COVID-19 report. The rest of the team will assemble in UAE on 23rd August, 2022."

Shah had also shared the name of the interim head coach while Dravid was recovering.

"VVS Laxman, Head Cricket, NCA will be the interim Head Coach for Team India (Senior Men) for the upcoming ACC Asia Cup 2022, to be played in the UAE," Shah said.

"Laxman, who travelled with the Indian team that played the ODI series in Zimbabwe will oversee the team's preparation in the absence of Rahul Dravid, who tested positive for COVID-19 before the team's departure to the UAE. Dravid will join the team once he tests negative and is cleared by the BCCI Medical Team."

Dravid took a two-week sabbatical after the West Indies series, while batting coach Vikram Rathour and bowling coach Paras Mhambrey also requested breaks for the Zimbabwe tour.

Hrishikesh Kanitkar and Sairaj Bahutule accompanied Laxman to attend the Zimbabwe tour, but when Dravid tested positive, Laxman immediately headed to Dubai and took command of team India's training.

According to the Indian Express, Dravid recently underwent two RT-PCR tests, both of which came back negative. Dravid will take over as team leader once he has recovered.

India vs. Pakistan

The Asia Cup began on August 27 in the United Arab Emirates and will conclude on September 11.

On Saturday, August 28, India will face Pakistan in their first game. Next week, on Wednesday, August 31, they will encounter a qualifier in their second game.

Furthermore, India and Pakistan will see each other again at the location where they clashed in the Men's T20 World Cup in 2021.

Both India and Pakistan will enter Sunday's encounter without their respective pace spearheads, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Jasprit Bumrah. Afridi is absent because of a right knee ligament injury, whereas Bumrah is recovering from a back issue.

With Bumrah unable to perform, Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan have been given a chance to improve their claims for positions in the Men's T20 World Cup.

Hasan Ali, who was not included in the initial Asia Cup roster due to a slump in performance, has also been allowed to demonstrate his ability to earn a spot in the World Cup.

Virat Kohli will participate in his 100th T20I game on Sunday, which will be his first international match since the third ODI against England on July 17. It will make Kohli the second player after Ross Taylor from New Zealand to make 100 appearances across all three international cricket formats.

Kohli has only appeared in four T20I matches for India this year and hasn't struck a century in international cricket since November 2019.

For Pakistan, the majority of their scoring has been done by their top three, which consists of wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam, and Fakhar Zaman.

Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.